The movie High Rise is a compelling example of the themes in utopia and dystopia societies. In many ways, utopia and dystopia societies are mirror opposites of each other. With a utopia government you have peace, safety, and equality.Everyone is treated fairly and they are happy. Their needs are being meet, and there is little conflict. But in a dystopia society you have the government (or the rich and the powerful) treat the ones at the bottom unfairly and cruelly. There is usually a huge income gap and the ones at the bottom are usually poor, ill andoppressed. In fact, the prefix dsy means bad or difficult. Those being oppressed are angry and discontent. Dystopia societies typically involve a conflict; the ‘have’ versus the ‘have nots’. Those at the bottom are often angry and resentful as they see that they are being treated unfairly. Anger and bitterness rules their lives.
The conflict and tension in a dystopia setting makes for a much more intriguing movie as shown perfectly in High Rise. (Who wants to watch a happy, cheerful movie where everyone is happy?) There are other examples of recent movies which illustrate a dystopia society; Hunger Games and Divergent (both movies I enjoyed). In these movies, the hungry and oppressedplot their revenge, rebel and revolt.
In High Rise, the conflict between those with the power and those at the bottom is symbolized with a high rise building. The actual building plays an important role in the story. Of course, those at the top have the money and control; the higher you are to the top, the more power you possess. The hierarchy is based on the floor you live on, obviously, the higher the better. The ones who live on the bottom of the building live differently, treated unfairly. It is similar in the movies Hunger Games and Divergent, as the lower classes (floors) rise up to take their power back. In High Rise, not only do the oppressed rise andcause mayhem but those on top breakdown too, in shameful and appalling ways. It is a brutal and gruesome collapse to watch.
One of the most jarring and memorable scenes in the movie, is the opening scene with the main protagonist Dr. Robert Laing. As one of the main characters, he is shown covered in blood and eating a dog on his filthy balcony, reflecting on the past few months since moving into the building. Thus begins a flashback showing the cruel people and conditions at the High Rise as it alldisintegrates around them. It is a pivotal scene to prepare you for the gory drama that follows.
Certain gruesome scenes in this movie were so disturbing it washard to watch. In hindsight though, the ‘high rise’ apartment itself was perversely symbolic. It is a massive heavy concrete structure, supposedly to be a symbol of social change. Actually though the skyscraper represented income inequality and a violent class warfare. Supposedly, the lower in the building the lower your life. Those on the lower floors thought that life on the top levels would make their lives better. Those on the top thought they were morally superior to the ones on the bottom. The stark reality was different. The upper floor tenants in High Rise, were just as damaged and imperfect as those on the bottom. They were are all morally flawed.